Proverbs 6:9-11 finishes up the call to rise from being lazy. Solomon starts with a question and ends with the application.

Starting in Proverbs 6:9, he is asking how long will you sleep? This hits closer to my experience with my own generation. Granted, this is not meant to include everyone, but growing up, my generation was lazy. In high school, and other events, the comment was,

I’m sleepy. I just want to sleep.

Sleep is good. Sleep is important. Sleep and rest is Biblical. This sleep desired was not. No matter where they were, not matter what they were doing, no matter what was going on, they would just curl up and go to sleep.

So Solomon’s question is appropo. How long will you sleep? How long will you rest? How long will you stay in your bed or couch and do nothing? This is a problem. The concept for the word sleep is found 210 times in the Old Testament and is mixed between good and bad. But then Solomon asks, when will you wake up?

Have you ever met someone who only wanted to sleep and when they did, it seemed to be all day? There are times when naps may be good, and there are days when the work is exhausting. There are times and seasons to take a rest (Ecclesiastes 3:1). But when this rest takes majority of the time, this is not good.

Proverbs gives another example with almost the same phrasing. Proverbs 24:33-34. In this context, there is the vineyard of a lazy man. If you look at the description (Proverbs 24:31), there is a lot of work that needs to be done in order to make it profitable. Yet there is a deeper meaning and purpose. The writer looks at it and learns from its looks.

Have you seen a yard filled with garbage, junked out items, and is all overgrown? The home is falling apart, the cars are a wreck and it seems that the owner just does not care? That is this event. Look and learn from them of what not to do.

Still, we can look at a vineyard from the metaphorical meaning. Grapes, vineyards, wine, all in the Scripture has been used as a symbol of prosperity, wealth, and good times. A vineyard that is not producing is also showing a place and point of lack. This lack is not a lack because of circumstances, although there can be some cases where this happens, but it is a lack due to laziness.

In that moment, laziness steals from the individual what they could have, or what they could do. As the Proverbs says in Proverbs 6:10, which can be a response to Proverbs 6:9. How long will you sleep, when will you wake up? What is the response?

Just a little longer. My hands are tired. I just want to lie here a little longer and sleep.

This individual, in response to the call to wake up and to get busy with what needs to be done is the same one who says,

Just five more minutes.

Again, there is a time and season for rest. This laziness, however, takes that truth and butchers it beyond anything recognizable.

The end result is as expected in Proverbs 6:11. While the individual is in that state of laziness, the prowler or the crook comes. What does he bring? Misery, want, destitution, poverty. Why are many in the state of poverty? Because they refuse to work.

Again, the notion that government should provide for everyone is a completely unbiblical in teaching and origin. There are a few noteworthy cases which I would say people should be taken care of by the government. One case, in a large part, is if the individual served in the military. They gave themselves to the defense of the nation and put themselves in harms way. They should be taken care of. Should we, then, extend to everyone a “free ride”?

Absolutely not! As we mentioned last week, if you do not work, you do not eat. I know, I can hear it now,

Jonathan, you just want people to starve. Think of the poor underclass who cannot find work, or who need the governments help to just buy necessities.

I say the government is the problem that causes most of our poverty. Their policies is what causes the high prices right now, and government never “helps” anyone but themselves. They are the root cause of many of our issues today, not the fix.

So in this case, if government would get out of the way, allow free markets to work, and then NOT provide a safety net such as social services, welfare, minimum wage, etc., I promise everyone reading, people will get a job and they will work. If that happens, you will find many changes to society, and families as a whole. I promise that. When one depends on the government to provide for all the needs, everyone is brought down to lowest common denominator, except those in power who get more off the hands of the ones who work. That is another topic for another text. To answer the charge above,  even today, there are jobs available. It may not be that six figure, corner office job, but it is work. In our area, there are many who are holding signs looking for handouts, but the concept of working is absolutely rejected by them. Conversations have been had with them and they were very honest about why they will never work. The issue is not that jobs cannot be found. The issue is that many do not want to work in the jobs available. 

Laziness opens the door to the thief who will come in and take. Take they will. Then enters the next criminal in this imaginative duo. Need also comes like an armed man who has come to make things worse. For many, the fear of being in a hostage or a major event with an armed assailant is the last thing any of us want.

However, when one is lazy, they are opening the door to this criminal of misery who is equivalent to that armed man. Now we find they work hand in hand. The prowler comes in and steals any and all resources gathered and the savings account runs dry and the money flies away. Then need comes in as an armed man who brings with him misery, pain, sorrow.

The need should be felt and the hunger pains should be there. Those who have no safety net are more invested in how a nation goes and are more vested into their family, and self, and how they carry themselves and how their families are taken care of.

This teaching is carried forward to a tragic end in Proverbs 10:4. Notice what the text says. How is someone made rich? It is not because governmental programs or because of social structures. True riches comes because someone is diligent. This is why those who demand wealth but do not work for it, have no appreciation for wealth and will never climb above poverty. They never learned the value of work and saving, and therefore they never learned how to manage money. Only those who are not sleeping all the time, the diligent workers, will actually become wealthy. This requires work, work, and more work.

Therefore, the challenge for all of us is to check ourselves and ask if we are being faithful to our work. Are we resting and sleeping when we should be working? Are we lazy? There are many who will evaluate themselves quickly and half-heartedly and think they are ok. No one really wants to hit themselves. Most want to think they are ok as they are and who they are. This is never how we are to approach the Scripture. We are to approach the Scriptures asking Jesus to reveal to us what He wants from us. Not to seek how the Bible can be an add on to support us as we are. One will break our Spirit and bring us closer to Jesus. The other will break us like a ship on a rock.

May we seek out the wisdom of Solomon in the book of Proverbs and apply to our lives what God has for us. God bless.